THE ROLE OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION AND TECHNOLOGY IN EMPOWERING LOCAL COMMUNITY THROUGH PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION: A CASE OF PROJECTS FUNDED BY MUSONI MICROFINANCE KENYA LTD.
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Historically it has proved difficult to provide sustainable micro-financial services to clients especially in
remote rural areas. As formal financial institutions seem to look seriously at this market, the
microfinance industry faces significant challenges in maturing and scaling to sustainability. Today the
exchange of information with remote clients, management and processing of data at the institutional
level and the collection and delivery of money to remote rural areas are some of the major challenges
the microfinance are struggling with. Hence this study aimed at examining the role of information
technology in empowering the local community through project implementation the case of projects
funded by Musoni Kenya Limited, the study sought to analyze the progress and achievement by the
local community, their constraints, recommendations and possible solutions to improve their
weaknesses. Several literatures have been identified which have indicated the impediments to the
success of microfinance institutions in developing countries as scalability, sustainability, outreach, and
the impact of the various microfinance initiatives. These impediments can only be overcome through the
usage of ICT to maximize outreach and. ICT is an enabler of affordable solutions to MFIs. It can enable
MFIs to reach remote rural based clients in an effective low cost manner. It is evident from the
literatures reviewed that many questions in the role of ICT in empowering the local community remain
unanswered. The contextual experiences of Local community with ICTs, especially mobile, although
beginning to be researched remain largely unarticulated. Hence this led to the need to do a study on how
ICT can empower the local community to help them live sustainable lives. The study used descriptive
survey design; the research instrument used were questionnaire and interviews schedules .Descriptive
statistics were used to data analysis and the results presented in percentage and frequencies.Findings
revealed that efficiency and quality service is enhanced through improved service delivery by use of
ICT in project implementation within local community, the respondents agreed that lack of proper ICT
equipments has led to poor service quality. The study also found that the mobile money transfer has
enhanced communication within the Rural Area, the ICT technology used by Musoni Kenya Ltd has
facilitated faster access of Information and greatly impacted on group communication. On increased
outreach, the respondents agreed that ICT has led to increased Outreach in the community and had
assisted in facilitating easier group payments, especially for members who might live away from their
groups. The findings on how improved security and reduced fraud through use of ICT enhances project
implementation within local community were neutral that the current use of automated systems to
transact has led to reduced fraud, therefore the study recommends that the community groups involved
in the implementation of various projects should be focused in terms of their needs and using the right
technology to achieve goals, rather, than acquiring technology because other organizations have it. They
should carry out a awareness campaigns to allay fears of security/safety issues like complications of the
mobile money transfer technology procedures and lack of awareness security limits of the mobile
money transfer technology. From the study findings and conclusions, cost of service delivery in mobile
money transfer affects its applicability. From the study findings and conclusions, cost of service
delivery in mobile money transfer affects its applicability. The study also recommends that the
community groups should focus on aspects of costs of serving low-income customers, reliability and
simplicity of conducting business through transfers, payments, deposits and withdrawals in financial
transactions of small businesses and value for customers' transactions. Finally the study recommends
that, since ICT is an important tool to the service providers, the customers and the government, the
relevant policy makers should improve the policies governing the industry and use of ICT in project
implementation for community empowerment. Interest should be aimed towards improving services that
ensure that the customer get details in time and with the least cost possible. This would enhance
implementation of community projects.